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Dubai will police streets with autonomous patrol cars

Earlier this year, Dubai announced that it would begin flying passenger taxi drones this summer. Now, it’s putting autonomous cars on the road as well; by the end of the year, the Dubai police plan on deploying a fleet of self-driving police cars that will scan people and identify criminals and “undesirables.”

The driverless car will operate completely autonomously; it will patrol the city on its own and use biometric software to scan individuals it comes across. Officials are hoping that the very presence of the vehicle in an area will be enough to deter crime; it also comes complete with an onboard drone that will be linked to the Dubai Police’s command room for aerial surveillance.

OTSAW Digital, a Singapore-based company will be building and manufacturing the O-R3 security robots for the city. They are equipped with a laser scanner, thermal camera, HD cameras, GPS and lidar in order to navigate, and can additionally utilize these cameras for facial and license plate recognition. While the robot vehicle is fully automated, humans can override the systems and easily take control of the OR-3 if necessary.

The Dubai police department has previously discussed its intention of replacing 25 percent of its police force with robots. Last month, Dubai introduced its first robotic police officer to the force. With the addition of the OR-3 vehicles by the end of 2017, Dubai seems to be well on its way to its goal of creating a fully robotic, human-free police station by 2030.

Via: The Verge

Source: OTSAE Digital OR-3, Gulf News

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UK drone rules will require you to take safety tests

UK drone rules will require you to take safety tests

US officials might be easing up on drone regulations, but their UK counterparts are pushing forward. The British government has instituted rules that require you to not only register any robotic aircraft weighing over 250g (0.55lbs), but to take a "safety awareness" test to prove you understand the drone code. Regulators hope that this will lead to fewer drones flying over airports and otherwise causing havoc in British skies. Not that they're taking any chances -- the UK is also planning wider use of geofencing to prevent drones from flying into dangerous airspace.

The new rules come following a study highlighting the dangers of wayward drones. A smaller drone isn't necessarily safer than its larger alternatives, for example -- many of those more compact models have exposed rotors that can do a lot of damage. A drone weighing around 400 g (0.88lbs) can crack the windscreen of a helicopter, while all but the heaviest drones will have trouble cracking the windscreen of an airliner (and then only at speeds you'd expect beyond the airport). While you might not cause as much chaos as some have feared, you could still create a disaster using a compact drone.

It's nothing new to register drones, of course, and it doesn't appear to have dampened enthusiasm in the US. The test adds a wrinkle, though: how willing are you to buy a drone if you know you'll have to take a quiz? The test likely won't slow sales too much, if at all, but it could give people one more reason to pause before buying a drone on impulse. Manufacturers appear to be in favor of the new rulebook, at any rate -- DJI tells the BBC that the UK is striving for a "reasonable" solution that balances safety with a recognition of the advantages that drones can bring to public life.

Source: Gov.uk (1), (2)

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